Recreational Cannabis in Montana Brings in $1.5M

High Times

The opening weekend of recreational cannabis sales in Big Sky country brought in big profits. That’s according to Montana’s Department of Revenue, which said that cannabis sales brought in more than $1.5 million last weekend, the first days that the state’s legal weed market opened for business. According to the Helena Independent Record, the “Governor’s Office of Budget and Program Planning projected $130 million in recreational sales in 2022, climbing to $195.5 million in 2023 once the moratorium on new businesses ends.” The state is imposing a 20 percent sales tax on recreational cannabis. (Medical marijuana, for comparison, is taxed at only four percent in Montana.) Kristan Barbour, an administrator with the revenue department’s Cannabis Control Division, told the Independent Record that the “rollout of the adult-use program went off without any issues from the department’s supported IT systems.” “We were able to successfully verify with (the) industry that our licensing and seed to sales systems were working on Friday to ensure a successful launch on Saturday, January 1, 2022. The successful launch was a result of staff’s hard work and planning over the past six month to meet the challenges of implementing HB 701,” Barbour said in a statement to the newspaper. HB 701 was the bill that was passed by Montana lawmakers and signed into law by Governor Greg Gianforte last year after voters in the state approved a ballot initiative in 2020 legalizing recreational cannabis use for adults aged 21 and older. Montana was one of four states where voters approved legalization proposals at the ballot in 2020, joining Arizona, South Dakota and New Jersey.  HB 701 established a framework for the new marijuana marketplace and also established the so-called the HEART Fund, which will use revenue from the recreational pot program to fund substance abuse treatment.…

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